Q: Toyota outsells Ford in the US?

A: No surprise there. Japan’s Toyota overtook Ford in the US car giant’s home market in October. Toyota’s best-ever US monthly sales figures saw it selling 197,592 vehicles last month, ahead of Ford’s 195,462 vehicles sold. Ford continues to lead the US car market in annual sales, with 2.5 mln vehicles sold last year against Toyota’s 2.2 mln figure.

The US car market remains tough for all players, with the housing slump and high oil prices hitting sales. October marked the end of a three-month run of declining US sales for Toyota. Ford said cuts in low-margin sales to car rental firms masked strong demand for its more profitable range of sports utility vehicles.




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Q: China to hike airline fuel surcharge?

A: That’s right. It starts today, Nov. 5. China will allow its domestic airlines to increase fuel surcharge to offset the pressure of oil price hikes on the aviation industry. The passenger fuel surcharge will be raised from CNY50 (US$6.7) per passenger for flights within 800 km to CNY60. For long haul flights, the fee will rise from CNY80-100.

The newly approved surcharges will take effect from today, according to a joint circular issued by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s economic planner, and the General Administration of Civil Aviation (CAAC). The government’s decision to raise prices of gasoline, diesel oil and jet kerosene by CNY500 per ton from this month boosted fuel expense, which already accounted for 44% of the total cost in September, said sources with CAAC.

According to Citic Securities, based on its analysis in 2006, when the oil price climbs CNY100 per ton, the net profit will be reduced by CNY220 mln for China Eastern Airlines, CNY250 mln for China Southern Airlines and CNY180 mln for Air China. Fuel surcharge is a type of aviation tariff which requires the approval of relevant aeronautical authorities before it could be levied.




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Q: Japan wants to open up its regional airports?

A: Japan plans to open up its regional airports to foreign airlines in an effort to increase the flow of tourists from Asia and enhance local economies, the Transport Ministry said. Japan will ease restrictions over its air routes, allowing foreign carriers to launch services quickly without having to negotiate landing rights, the ministry said in a statement.

The plan comes amid efforts by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to intensify regional cooperation by liberalising their individual air and maritime transport sectors. Japan has set a goal of drawing 10 mln foreign visitors to Japan by 2010, nearly double the figure in 2003. Last year, a record 8.1 mln foreigners visited Japan, according to the government. A private national tourist organisation said that 4.98 mln came for tourism.

Japan hopes to channel tourists from its traditional hubs of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya to outlying cities including Sapporo in the north and Fukuoka in the south to improve regional economies. Despite increased air routes, visitors may have to wait longer to enter the country once on Japanese soil as immigration officials prepare to take the fingerprints and photographs of all incoming foreigners under stringent new security measures later this month.



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日本设立的目标是在2010年前吸引1,000万外国游客前来日本,该数字几乎是2003年的一倍。政府透露,去年,来日本的外国人士创记录地达到810万。一间私营全国旅游机构表示,其中498万是游客。日本希望将游客从东京、大阪和名古屋等传统枢纽引导至偏远城市,包括北部的Sapporo 和南部的Fukuoka ,以改善地区经济。根据本月晚些时候实施的严格的新保安措施,入境官员准备取得所有入境外国人士的指纹和照片,因此,尽管航线增加,游客可能必须等待更长时间才能进入日本。

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